Interviewing Vets Keeps History Alive

by Alfreda Barnes

A few months ago, I was privileged to be asked by the Library of Congress to be a part of a project entitled, "The Veterans History Project." The project collects and preserves personal stories and other documents from America's war veterans and U.S. civilians who served in support of them. I had written a couple of articles for a history book in the county where my mother was born a couple of years ago and that may have been why I was chosen. The sad part for me was this request came a few months after the loss of one of my uncles who would have had so much to offer this project. Fortunately I still have one uncle that served during World War II.

After I received the information, I spoke with my Uncle Fred (Frederic W. Thomas), who was a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, and asked his permission to interview him for the project. He was thrilled for the opportunity to be part of something that will be kept for posterity. My uncle lives in Nashville, so what we did was take time during our family reunion in Oklahoma City in July 2005. I have mailed the narrative to the project contact, who promised to get back to me and my uncle when it is received.

I had never interviewed anyone before and wished that I could have done the interview over, but time and distance just would not allow. Both my uncle and I feel honored to have been asked to do this and to know that my uncle's contributions will be recognized as a part of history.

The web site for this project is


Last updated: October 9, 2005